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Louisiana United Ways/2-1-1 respond to flood disaster

Heavy rainfall over the course of several days has resulted in severe flooding in parts of Louisiana.

Here at iCarol our thoughts are with the people of Louisiana as well as our friends and partners at the United Way agencies and 2-1-1 call centers in the region who are helping those affected. Many of the people working at these agencies are currently facing the same hardships as the people they’re trying to help, and so it’s very inspiring to see their energy used in service to others at a time that may be just as difficult for them personally.

Our team also extends our love and support for our very own Christa who lives in Baton Rouge. We hope the flood waters recede soon so that everyone can be safe, regain power and other necessities, and begin the repair and recovery process.

The devastating impact so far:

  • 13 people have lost their lives
  • Over 30,000 rescues initiated
  • Over 12,000 people staying in shelters at the height of the crisis
  • 40,000 homes and businesses lost power
  • Over 60,000 homes damaged or destroyed
  • 102,000 registered for federal disaster aid
  • Over 25 inches of rainfall in some locations over the course of just a few days

United Way organizations throughout the region are helping to coordinate disaster relief efforts as well as accepting donations to assist with response. Please see below for press releases and other information from our contacts at these organizations:

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From United Ways across Acadiana:

St. Landry-Evangeline United Way, United Way of Acadiana, United Way of Iberia and United Way of Southwest Louisiana have partnered to launch the Greater Acadiana United Way Disaster Fund. To donate, text keyword FLOOD2016 to 41444, visit each individual United Way web site or contact the individual United Way.

United Way-supported programs with nonprofit partner agencies help provide food, clothing, counseling and other services.

“On top of the downturn in the local economy, this flooding is causing even more damage to financially stressed families,” said United Way of Acadiana President and CEO Margaret Trahan. “We really need to pull together and pool our resources to do the most good for the most people.”

United Ways are partnering with local residents and partners in the non-profit sector, businesses, faith-based sector and government to help people through the recovery process.

United Ways are also working with Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) to assess all other volunteer needs. Once those other volunteer have been identified, a United Way representative will contact registered volunteers with additional information. You can register to volunteer for emerging volunteer needs at www.unitedwayofacadiana.org or www.getconnected.uwsle.org.

United Way of Acadiana is accepting donated goods at its warehouse at 215 E. Pinhook Rd. from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until further notice.

This location is the staging point for all donated supplies, which will be dispersed to shelters and other places where needed.

United Way of Acadiana is also working in collaboration with The Daily Advertiser, which is also a drop-off site for donated goods until Monday, Aug. 15.

Items needed are:

  • Pillows
  • Blankets
  • Diapers
  • Baby food & formula
  • Toilet paper
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable food items (e.g. canned goods)
  • Buckets
  • Mops
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Rubber gloves
  • Masks
  • New, unopened packages of underwear (adult & children)
  • New, unopened packages of socks (adult & children)
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Toilet paper
  • Deodorant
  • School supplies, due to flooding in local schools
  • Boxes or containers

There is not a need for clothing donations at this time.

From Capital Area United Way in Baton Rouge:

With the continuing devastation occurring in our community, Capital Area United Way is now accepting donations for flood relief. During this historic flood, most of our 10-parish area has been deeply affected, and we stand together with local partners in the non-profit sector, businesses, faith-based sector and government to help people through the recovery process. Basic needs is one of the focus areas for Capital Area United Way to stabilize individuals and families in times of crisis.

To make a donation text LAFLOOD to 313131 or visit www.cauw.org and click donate. Donations can also be mailed to Capital Area United Way, Attn: Flood Relief, 700 Laurel Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802. For volunteer opportunities visit www.cauw.org/volunteer.

In addition to monetary gifts, Capital Area United Way is accepting donated goods (listed above) at its office at 700 Laurel Street from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily until further notice. This location is the staging point for all donated supplies, which will be distributed to shelters and other locations where needed.

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Link your Taxonomy terms to your custom categories

Searching for the right resource in iCarol is quick and easy, and can be done in two basic ways: either by its name or how it’s categorized. Searching for something by its name is typically most helpful to Resource Managers or other specialists who need to find an exact listing because they want to do a quality check or make changes. When it comes to assisting help seekers, it’s much more fruitful to search for something based on how it’s categorized, that is, the list of keywords or categories assigned to that resource that help describe what types of problems or issues the referral can assist with.

And then, there are two different types of categorizations one can use in iCarol: Categories or the Taxonomy. Each iCarol system will let you build your own hierarchy, as simple or complex as you like, of custom categorizations to assign to your community service provider listings to describe what they do. The Taxonomy is typically used by I&R helplines, 2-1-1’s, or other AIRS accredited information and referral providers, as this is an extremely detailed and complex categorization tree, which AIRS takes the time to maintain to keep everything consistent. This requires additional subscriptions both from AIRS and within iCarol, which you can read more about here.

Many of our users, for a variety of reasons, prefer to use both Categories and the Taxonomy in their iCarol systems. This allows for greater flexibility and other benefits, if requiring some additional time to categorize each resource with the proper terms using both categorization methods.

For these users, we’ve devised a new way that helps you ensure these varying types of categorization are ultimately working together well and producing great search results. Beginning with our next release, slated to occur on Tuesday July 19th, you can link one or more Taxonomy terms to your custom categories. This way, when someone is searching a certain custom category for a help seeker, the system ensures that not only will they be shown resources which have been coded with that category assigned, but also returns results that have been coded with a certain Taxonomy term or series of terms.

This can really speed up the process of collecting appropriate referrals for your caller, eliminating the need to do multiple searches by essentially creating Taxonomy groups. Here’s how to turn this feature on, once available:

  • Log in to iCarol as an Admin, or other user who has been granted access to Admin Tools
  • Click on “Admin Tools” from the left menu
  • Click on the “Resources” tab
  • Under the AIRS/211 Taxonomy section, click the checkbox for the setting “In category searches, also look in taxonomy terms linked to the category”

  • Enable linking taxonomy terms to custom categories

Next, you’ll want to begin linking your Categories to Taxonomy terms. To do that…

  • Click on “Resources” from the left menu
  • Click on “Manage Resources” to the right of the geographic filters
  • Click on “Customize your categories” from under the Taxonomy and categories section
  • Click on an existing category to view the Taxonomy terms assigned to this category configuration menu
  • Using the same process as assigning a Taxonomy Term to a resource, search for, or drill down to select taxonomy terms to link to the category.
  • Once terms are selected, click “Save taxonomy selections below” to add terms to the Category. To delete existing terms from a category, select the term to delete and click “Delete taxonomy selections above”

  • Linking taxonomy terms to custom categories

As shown in the example above, one way you can use this tool to group together similar Taxonomy terms to create Taxonomy groups, which are then linked to a single custom category. In the example above, an I&R Specialist can search for the category of Holiday Meals, and all records that have been assigned any of the singular and specific listed Taxonomy terms (Christmas Meals, Easter Meals, etc.), will be returned in that search. A note that while Resource Managers can create these groupings at any time, this tool will only work and actually return the proper results if the feature is turned on in Admin Tools, as shown in the first set of instructions.

We hope this new feature will help save your specialists time as they’re working with your clients, getting them even more appropriate referrals quickly, and without having to recall as many individual Taxonomy terms as they do so. If you have questions about this new tool that isn’t answered in our Help Articles or this blog, please reach out to our Support Team.

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iCarol Summit and AIRS Conference recap

May was a busy month for our team, capped off with a trip to St. Louis for the 38th Annual Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) training and education conference. But before that conference got started, we had an exciting event of our own to host.

For awhile now we’ve been wanting to experiment with holding an in-person training event for our clients; something that would allow us to go beyond the sessions we historically participate in during these conferences which generally must be not vendor specific. We love sharing our broad knowledge with folks at sessions like this, but recognize there’s an opportunity for iCarol-specific education especially given that so many of our clients would be present and, we hoped, interested in spending some time with us.

So late last year we began planning what would become the iCarol Summit, a day-long intensive training event hosted by us and featuring members of our team with extensive knowledge and expertise in Information and Referral (I&R). The Summit was held on Sunday May 22nd to superb turnout by iCarol users all across North America.

Neil welcomed everyone with an opening keynote where he discussed recent iCarol growth, the state of the I&R industry, and trends we’re seeing. A few highlights include:

    iCarol Growth
  • The size of our team has doubled in the last 18 months
  • The number of users worldwide is solidly above 50,000 and growing
  • 1/3 of 211s in North America use iCarol and that number is continuously growing
  • 5 of our staff hold CIRS or CRS certifications from AIRS
  • iCarol leadership continues to take an active role in discussions about AIRS standards and technology initiatives in the I&R industry
    iCarol Software
  • In 2015 we added over 1,600 enhancements to our product with many more coming before 2016 ends
  • There are more ways than ever for our users to enhance their iCarol knowledge, from training webinars and on-demand videos available now, to tailored walk-throughs which are coming soon
  • Discovering and trialing iCarol will be made easier with added automation to the onboarding process
    The I&R Industry Trends
  • AIRS standards continue to evolve
  • Big data and data sharing
  • Extending reach via mobile, live chat, texting, and social media
  • Self-service via the web and apps

From there, our participants headed onward to a day of sessions we developed with our users’ needs in mind. Polly gave a thorough presentation which walked us through bringing together AIRS standards and AIRS resource database quality recommendations using iCarol. She discussed iCarol program metrics and tools and how they can directly improve your ability to meet certain AIRS standards and recommendations. Just one of many examples, the Resource Complexity report, which provides an analysis of your records and how they rate on complexity. The report suggests statistical reportsthe number of hours it may take to manage them using the AIRS standards as a guide, therefore giving the tools to determine the number of FTEs needed at your agency to meet these standards. The rest of the presentation covered similar program tools and metrics that directly assist with meetings AIRS standards and thus achieving certification.

Christa led a session on the many ways you can use iCarol to reach your community beyond fielding phone calls — and we’re not just talking about iCarol Messaging (Live Chat and Texting). This session covered tools like the Public Resource Directory, Online Forms, texting or emailing referrals, follow-up texts, the API, and more. In fact, for each of these areas she discussed not just the tool as a whole, but some individual components or settings in each function. The group was exposed and educated on many iCarol features that they had previously not discovered, or didn’t have extensive knowledge of. Crystal held a session on Proving Your Value, covering topics like Needs and Unmet Needs reports, examining your exports, and a peek at new exporting tools coming soon, along with some discussion about Microsoft’s powerful Power BI capability.

These are just a few examples of the highly detailed and helpful breakout sessions we aimed to bring our participants, and we’re so pleased by the attendance and enthusiasm at these presentations.

messaging 2.0

At the end of our Summit, Rachel presented a traditional usergroup session, which was open not just to Summit attendees but to any interested party who was visiting the conference and wished to learn more about iCarol. In this final session of the day, Rachel touched on some of iCarol’s product initiatives, including planned enhancements we’re currently calling “Messaging 2.0” and “Public Resource Directory (PRD) 2.0.” Messaging 2.0 will enhance the usability of this feature via a more efficient approach to both the workflox and access to the resource search. These enhancements will also improve your productivity — not only will you be able to find and give visitors their referrals even faster, but the enhancement should result in a quicker response time when working in your forms. Messaging 2.0 will also bring with it increased reliability and fewer opportunities for the already low occurrence of “lost” messages. This enhancement is still being developed and so we cannot commit to a firm release date right now, however at this time we estimate a fall 2016 launch.

The new developments to the iCarol PRD will boost your ability to direct help-seekers to services via the PRD’s embedded resource search on your website. The enhancements will reduce the time it takes to obtain search results, while simultaneously offering greater control over appearance including more integrated tools to build “guided” searches, or customizing CSS or using the API for even greater control. Further, you’ll be able to configure the weighting of search results, set up guided searches, filtering, and more.

Rachel wrapped up our day by speaking to other recently released development, and spoke to a few other planned enhancements for the remainder of 2016.

We thoroughly enjoyed presenting our first ever iCarol Summit, and we truly hope all who attended enjoyed themselves and learned a lot that they can put into practice at their helplines. The feedback we’ve received so far has been extremely positive, and the success of this event has encouraged us to plan future events. We’d appreciate your help in making that happen. Please take a second to answer just a few questions that will help us develop future training events.

Help us plan future events

Next up was the AIRS Conference, and the team had a blast. It’s difficult to sum up so much activity and also express how much fun we had. These events are always a great chance for us to see each other, our clients, industry folks, and meet lots of new friends.

Polly and Crystal hosted an extremely popular session called “Crunching the numbers” where they took the audience through the process of interpreting your data through Excel tools like pivot tables. This workshop was non-vendor specific, meaning the session focused on elements that any helpline with data could find helpful, regardless of the software they use to collect that data. According to Polly, one attendee of the presentation said he was working on his MBA and some of the material covered in the session wasn’t even included in an advanced course on Excel.

We received great feedback about this workshop — Stay tuned as you may see the opportunity to watch either a live or recorded version of this presentation in the future.

As usual, we had a booth set up so we could share information about iCarol to interested parties, as well as having a place to greet our users who came to visit. The exhibitor’s hall was expansive and impressive, located in the lobby area of the historic St. Louis Union Station Hotel. Check us out in the bottom left of the photo.

St. Louis Union Station Hotel Lobby

We kept ourselves tuned in to the trends and discussions impacting the I&R industry. There were a lot of conversations that extended the themes of the keynote from the United Way 2-1-1 CEO convention back in March, which we attended. There are plans to build a national resource data repository for United Way Worldwide, and it appears those plans are progressing and getting more detailed. We’ll be keeping a close watch on this, as it could influence iCarol innovation and development of tools for our users who may want to participate in such a database.

Follow-ups, measuring outcomes, processing and effectively reporting your data, and expanding your reach to help seekers all emerged as hot topics. As we hope you’d expect by now, we’re actively engaged in these conversations and constantly assessing how iCarol can be developed to give you the leverage you need.

Our users are doing some pretty cool stuff using iCarol — notably Kings United Way in California which created the 211 Intelliful app that connects residents of Kings and Tulare Counties in California with the resources available to them. It’s available via the App Store and Google Play, and will give you a good idea of all the amazing things you can do using the iCarol API. We were happy and really impressed with the app they developed and others clearly were, too.

Kings united way California 211

Of course we left time for fun. St. Louis provided lots of opportunities for that. The gang enjoyed a tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery

And as is tradition, we also took in a ball game, Cardinals vs. Cubs.

And just like that, it was over! We loved our time in St. Louis and this was a particularly energizing conference in part because of the iCarol Summit and in part because of all the creativity, innovation, and excitement we were exposed to. Don’t forget to give us your input about future in-person trainings by iCarol — we’d love to take you with us on our next adventure!

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Accept new records through Automated Verification

We’ve previously talked about the many ways in which your community can help you build and refine your resource database. For example, iCarol’s Public Resource Directory allows you to embed your searchable database right on your website and encourages self-service searches for resources, while at the same time allowing your organization to accept feedback about a resource, or receive requests from service providers to verify or correct a record using another useful tool, Automated Verification. Being able to partner with your community at large, and crowd source information this way, can ultimately help you build a robust database that’s going to be super useful, and help even more people.

We just added yet another tool designed to boost your referral database accuracy and comprehensiveness. Users of Automated Verification can send a unique web link via email, in an Automated Verification request, or posted publicly on their website, that allows new organizations to submit their information. Best of all, the resulting information lands in your iCarol system as an Automated Verification response. Review the submission, edit if necessary, and once accepted the new Agency is seamlessly added to your resource database!

You’ll also recall that awhile ago we added the capability for responders of existing resources to add Program or Site records when submitting their Automated Verification request. If this feature is turned on, then those who are sending in these new Agency submissions will also be invited to add Programs or Sites at that same time.

How it works

You must be using the Automated Verification tool in iCarol to enable these new Agency submissions or allow existing Agency representatives to add Programs or Sites. To learn more about Automated Verification, click here. If you’d like to turn on Automated Verification in your iCarol system, contact our support team.

To allow all responders, of both new and existing submissions, to also have the ability to add new Programs or Sites to their Agency, take these steps:

  • In the left main menu of iCarol, click on ‘Admin Tools’
  • Click the ‘Resources’ tab
  • Scroll down to the heading for Automated Verification and check the boxes for “Automated Verification responders can add…” for either or both Programs and Sites

  • Enable new programs and sites

  • Be sure to click “Save all settings” at the top of the page

To invite new submissions, first click on ‘Resources’ in left main menu of iCarol. From there:

  • Click on the ‘Verify’ radio button
  • Click on the ‘Requests’ link
  • Just under the area where you’d create and edit your email templates, you’ll find a URL. This URL is unique to your helpline.

    New agency submission URL

This link can be used to encourage agencies to add their information to your system, and can be shared with your community in many ways — Send it in a personal email, or include it in an email template that can be sent within iCarol via Automated Verification. You could also create a button or hyperlink text on your website that sends visitors to this URL inviting them to “Click here to add your organization to our resource database” or other language you see fit.

When someone clicks on this unique URL, they’ll be guided through the process of filling an entry form that’s very similar to the one existing organizations see when they complete a verification request from you. The main difference is that this entry is blank, and grants the user the opportunity to submit all new information about a resource that may not yet be known to you.

New agency fill in form

If you enabled the addition of Programs and Sites by responders, then once the Agency is added, they’ll be invited to add on that information as well. Similarly, Automated Verification responders who are simply updating their record information as part of a verification request will also be invited to add new Program or Site records when they make their updates.

Once they complete and submit all their information, it arrives directly into your iCarol system alongside other verification responses. You’ll be able to tell the new submissions apart from the rest of the responses — If you look under the ‘New Record’ column, you’ll see that new resources have the word ‘True’ appear here.

New Agency Verification Response

From there, the new record continues to behave much like other Automated Verification responses. You’ll need to review the entry and make any necessary edits. Once you save and accept the record, it will be added as a new Agency in your iCarol resource database.

Important note: Once new records are accepted, don’t forget to edit these records to add any necessary custom or Taxonomy categorizations!

We hope you enjoy yet another new way to invite inclusion of new and helpful resources to your database, further increasing your responsiveness as an organization, as well as the reliability of the resource information you provide to those in need. The convenience of adding these new records will mean a more complete collection of services which will ultimately help even more people in your community.

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Would you like to blog for iCarol?

The goal of iCarol’s blog is to provide interesting, helpful, and relevant information to our readers, who are typically volunteers or staff members of non-profit helplines located around the world, as well as people in executive and leadership roles, and other stakeholders. This group includes people who use iCarol, and also those who don’t.

Some of our best and most popular blog posts have come from helpline professionals who have a unique perspective to offer our readers. We’re always looking for new bloggers to join us. Here are some suggestions for topics to write about:

  • How your helpline handles a specific problem/topic that may be common in the helpline industry
  • Your thoughts or stance on a particular issue impacting helplines, or impacting larger industries of which helplines are a part (i.e. suicide prevention, mental health, substance abuse, LGBT, sexual violence, etc.)
  • Policies, procedures, thought processes, or philosophies on various topics that come up
  • Blogs about funding: Tips on how to get it, where to search for it, how to write a good grant or proposal, or how to convince your board or CEO to fund something that your helpline needs
  • Detail on partnerships you’ve formed that have ultimately helped your service thrive or improve service delivery. This could be partnerships with local law enforcement, emergency departments, counseling offices, organizations you commonly refer to, and more…
  • How-tos or tips for working with certain populations
  • Share information about how you use iCarol that may be helpful to other users
  • Going beyond service delivery — How do you market your program? How do you advertise and make people aware of your service? What outside resources do you turn to for help?
  • What events or conferences do you attend and why should other helpline professionals attend them?

And those are just a few ideas for the types of blogs we’re looking for. We welcome your own ideas and proposals for topics beyond what is listed above.

Once you submit it to us, we’ll review your submission. If chosen for publishing, we’ll set up a brief bio and byline for you, and when we publish your blog we’ll also link back to your organization’s website. In exchange we’ll ask that you also link to this blog using the outlets available to you, such as your own organization’s blog, newsletter, social media accounts, etc.

Original and exclusive content is great, however any material you may have previously written that was published elsewhere is welcome, so long as you or someone from your agency authored it and you have ownership over it and are authorized to cross-post it with us.

Interested? Want to submit an idea, a finished blog, or simply learn more? Please for more information!

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iCarol announces support for exporting data to Open Referral’s Human Services Data Specification 1.0

For many years, leaders in the Information & Referral (I&R) industry have sought to improve the reliability of exchanging the data they curate about social and human service providers in their community, with partners. In any given region or metropolitan region, it is important for these providers to know about other providers so they can provide referrals to their clients for more specialized services. However, with each provider tracking and managing their own such referral database, it adds up to a significant amount of duplicated effort and large discontinuities in data quality amongst the providers.

But what if the providers could agree upon pooling their efforts and sharing the data amongst themselves, either as a loose federation, or with one obvious centralized provider who is willing to share the data with partners? And what if, on a larger scale, they desired a similar type of pooling across their state/province or even country?

Accomplishing this with all providers using the same software system like iCarol can be done fairly expeditiously and we have many such successful examples in our client base today. But in reality, these service providers have quite different operational needs for tracking and serving their clients and hence have a heterogeneous collection of different software systems they use for their daily work.

That’s where an agreed-upon data standard can facilitate the sharing of resource databases amongst partners using different software systems. There are several such standards that are either completed or in development in the industry and iCarol continues to play an active role in their definition and adoption.

Greg Bloom Open Referral iCarol

One of those emerging standards we’re hearing a lot of active support for in our client base is the Open Referral initiative. Since we want iCarol to continue to be the most innovative provider of I&R software, we are building support for Open Referral’s Human Services Data Specification (HSDS) version 1.0 directly into iCarol. Administrators and Resource Editors can export their referral database to HSDS 1.0’s “comma separated value” format (CSV), as a free add-on to all iCarol systems. This capability is in our upcoming release, scheduled for the week of May 16th, 2016.

This is the first of a number of steps leveraging HSDS with iCarol, and will allow our clients experimenting with the standard in data sharing partnerships, to quickly generate a dataset for distribution as they see fit to trusted third parties.

Later, we expect to provide our clients with a real-time Application Programming Interface (API) supporting an enhanced version of HSDS, so that they can share their resource data with trusted third parties without the need for exporting and transferring files. We will continue to support our existing iCarol API for the future as well.

According to Greg Bloom, the Chief Organizing Officer of the Open Referral initiative, “iCarol is the market leader for call-center software, with clients all around the country and even the world. That’s why this announcement marks a major step toward a future in which all resource information systems can speak a common language.”

Neil McKechnie, the Director of Services for iCarol, adds “We’re excited about the possibilities of sharing data in a standard way amongst our clients and their trusted partners. As an ‘agnostic’ technology platform, we’re enthusiastic about supporting whatever data standards are well-suited for the information our clients are stewarding in iCarol. We’ve been hearing a lot of support for HSDS in recent months from our most innovative clients and are happy to give them this option. And since we have been active contributors to the HSDS’s definition from its earliest days, we started the effort with a high degree of familiarity.”

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Update call on Zika today at 4:30pm EST

In an email distributed today, The White House announced that officials will hold an update call on the Zika virus. We realize many of helplines, particularly in the 2-1-1 or information and referral sector, are receiving calls, chats, and texts about Zika and are always looking for new information to use as they update resources.

The email announcement reads:

    Please join Amy Pope, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Homeland Security Advisor at the White House and CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat on Tuesday, May 10th at 4:30pm ET as they share updates on the President’s plan to prepare for and respond to the Zika virus at home and abroad, as well as an update on CDC guidance.

    WHEN: Tuesday, May 10th at 4:30 pm ET

    RSVP: Use this link to RSVP for the call. For closed captioning, please visit this website and use code 2941599

    This call is off the record and for engagement purposes.

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Update call on Zika today at 2pm EST

In an email distributed today, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced that CDC officials will hold an update call on the Zika virus. We realize many of helplines, particularly in the 2-1-1 or information and referral sector, are receiving calls, chats, and texts about Zika and are always looking for new information to use as they update resources.

The email announcement reads:

    Please join Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC Principal Deputy Director, and Anne Reid, Counselor for Science and Public Health to the Secretary, on Tuesday, April 26th at 2:00pm ET as they share updates on the Department’s plan to prepare for and respond to the Zika virus at home and abroad, as well as an overview of Secretary Burwell’s trip to Puerto Rico. Dr. Judith Monroe, President and CEO of the CDC Foundation, will be on the call to discuss the CDC Foundation’s role working with external partners in support of CDC’s Zika virus response.

    Date: Tuesday, April 26th

    Time: 2:00 pm ET

    Dial In: 888-455-0031

    Passcode: 6166680

    This call is off the record and for engagement purposes.

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Why are we so good at what we do?

When a new helpline joins iCarol and our support team begins assisting the helpline staff through their trial and eventual implementation, there’s one piece of feedback we hear often: “Your team really ‘gets’ what we do!”

We never get tired of hearing that! It’s important to us that our helplines know how much we value your work, your industry, and the help seekers that use your service. We understand that whether you’re transitioning to iCarol from another software provider, or just getting started with helpline software, it helps to be working with people who truly understand your business.

That’s why as a company, iCarol believes in employing team members that can understand and relate to your experience. Many members of our team come to us with a background in the helpline industry.

As we get closer to presenting our first ever Summit, a day-long event filled with intensive iCarol training sessions held just before the AIRS Conference, we wanted to introduce you to the members of our team with Information and Referral backgrounds who hold AIRS certifications, including those who will be on hand at the Summit and the AIRS Conference. Haven’t signed up for our Summit yet? Click here for more details and to register!


Click here to see the full Summit Agenda.


* This team member will be at the AIRS Conference playing an active role in iCarol’s first ever pre-conference Summit.

Carmen Lovas, Manager, Client Support and Implementation

Carmen Lovas Carmen Lovas joined the iCarol team in 2012. Her current position is Manager of the iCarol Client Support and Implementation Team. Prior to her employment with CharityLogic, she was employed for 7 years at an agency who offered both crisis and 211 services to the public. Her focus was on 211 services, and she held the Certified Referral Specialist certification from AIRS. Carmen believes that 211 services are under-utilized by the public and therefore wishes to help iCarol clients learn and use the iCarol software to the best of their ability to support raised awareness of these services so more people can get the help they need.

Crystal McEachern, Associate Product Manager*

Crystal McEachern Crystal McEachern volunteer then worked at a blended crisis and 211 programs for five years in various roles. During that time she was the Resource Department Supervisor and was responsible for the oversight and management of the local and provincial 211 Referral Database. Crystal also earned her Certified Resource Specialist designation through AIRS and her Certified Crisis Worker credential through the American Association of Suicidology. Crystal started with iCarol as a CSIS in January 2015 and is excited to be part of the Product Management team at iCarol.

Crystal says, “I think I&R is important because there is so much information in this world, having someone available to help navigate through all the information noise to find authentic and trustworthy information is priceless. I know from personal experience how overwhelming trying to find the right information, at the right time can be, so I am glad to help I&R centers be that responsive and trusted source of information.”

Polly McDaniel, Director of Business Development*

Polly McDanielPolly worked at The Institute for Human Services’ 2-1-1 HELPLINE program for nine years in various roles, but most recently as Operations Manager, overseeing operations of the contact center and the resource department. During that time, she also helped many other 2-1-1’s and specialized information and referral organizations across the country with various Project Management and consulting projects. She has been with iCarol since July, 2016 in the role of a Client Support and Implementation Specialist, helping iCarol users to best use their system to meet the mission of their organizations. Polly has also participated on national task groups, provided training at the national and state levels and served as the Resource Track Manager for the AIRS Conference for the past three years.

She is very often seen responding to AIRS Networker posts encouraging participants to be “part of the conversation” that helps keep the I&R industry moving forward as she is passionate about helping to further our industry. Polly is extremely excited to be part of the upcoming iCarol Summit, where these conversations will be held face-to-face!

Christa Knox, Client Support and Implementation Specialist*

Christa KnoxChrista previously worked in a Crisis and 2-1-1 center in Baton Rouge, LA for eight years before joining the iCarol Client Support and Implementation Team. In her previous position with the Crisis/2-1-1 center, she managed the agency’s entire AIRS Accreditation process, creating and implementing numerous policies and procedures in order to meet AIRS standards, and was the secretary for the Louisiana AIRS affiliate board. Christa first became a CIRS in 2010 and a CRS in 2011 and held them each for five years. She is in the process of renewing those certifications again. She presented an AIRS conference session last year on creating a customized Incident Command System for I&R agencies to use during disaster response activities. She’s very excited to attend her fifth AIRS conference, now as an iCarol representative.

Diana Yovanovich, Client Support and Implementation Specialist

Diana YovanovichDiana worked for Inland Empire United Way 211 (San Bernardino County) for over 8 years in various roles, but most recently as Data and Research Manager, overseeing the Resource Department. During that time, she participated in collaboratives and partnerships at a County and State level with other 211’s and stake holders. She has been with iCarol since July, 2016 as a Client Support and Implementation Specialist, assisting iCarol clients to best use their iCarol system to meet the mission of their organization. Diana has held the AIRS Resource Specialist Certification since 2009.

Mary Kruger, Client Support and Implementation Specialist

Mary Kruger Mary Kruger is a new Client Support and Implementation Specialist and came to iCarol from 2-1-1/LIFE LINE in Rochester, NY. She started as a counselor before moving to a position in the resource department. She holds AIRS CRS and CIRS certifications.









Below you’ll find a first look at our Summit Agenda! We’re very excited to share these details with you. Please note that our agenda is not yet fully finalized, we reserve the right to make some small adjustments to our schedule and content. Not signed up yet? Click here for more details and to register!

Summit Agenda FINAL

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